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Charles Dunoyer and the Emergence of the Idea of an Economic Cycle


  • Rabah Benkemoune


This article shows that Charles Dunoyer sought to reinterpret Sismondi's theory of crises in a manner that would render it compatible with Say's political economy. While Sismondi considered that crises of overproduction proved the dysfunctionality of an economy founded upon free competition and called for legislative intervention, Dunoyer drew the conclusion that such economies were naturally subject to alternating periods of “activity” and “relapse.” Using the innovative idea of the cycle, Dunoyer incorporated Sismondi's theory into the Sayardian conception of political economy in which men have to adapt their behaviour to the nature of things, or suffer the consequences.

Suggested Citation

  • Rabah Benkemoune, 2009. "Charles Dunoyer and the Emergence of the Idea of an Economic Cycle," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 41(2), pages 271-295, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:hop:hopeec:v:41:y:2009:i:2:p:271-295

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Richard Layard, 2006. "Happiness and Public Policy: a Challenge to the Profession," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(510), pages 24-33, March.
    2. Coase, R H, 1976. "Adam Smith's Views of Man," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(3), pages 529-546, October.
    3. N. Emrah Aydinonat, 2006. "Is the Invisible Hand un− Smithian? A Comment on Rothschild," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 2(2), pages 1-9.
    4. Lisa Hill, 2001. "The hidden theology of Adam Smith," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(1), pages 1-29.
    5. A. M. C. Waterman, 2002. "Economics as Theology: Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 68(4), pages 907-921, April.
    6. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:2:y:2006:i:2:p:1-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Brewer, Anthony, 1998. "Luxury and Economic Development: David Hume and Adam Smith," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 45(1), pages 78-98, February.
    8. Anthony Brewer, 1997. "An eighteenth-century view of economic development: Hume and Steuart," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(1), pages 1-22.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bjarni G. Einarsson & Kristófer Gunnlaugsson & Thorvardur Tjörvi Ólafsson & Thórarinn G. Pétursson, 2016. "The long history of financial boom-bust cycles in Iceland - Part II: Financial cycles," Economics wp72, Department of Economics, Central bank of Iceland.
    2. Sartorello Spinola, Danilo, 2018. "Instability constraints and development traps: An empirical analysis of growth cycles and economic volatility in Latin America," MERIT Working Papers 002, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).

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